The Jayson Werth the Nationals thought they had signed to that $127 million dollar contract showed up for the 2012 season. After having what can only be called a disappointing season in 2011 in his first year with Washington, batting .232, Werth recovered his stroke and had a good year for DC, albeit a year that was shortened by injury.
2012 Prediction (ZiPS): .245/.342/.418, 20 HR, 62 RBI, 141 games, 507 AB
2012 Actual (with Washington): .300/.387/.440, 5 HR, 31 RBI, 81games, 300 AB
Werth had a good start to the year, batting .276 at the time he was injured on May 6th in a game at Nats Park against the Phillies. Werth broke his right wrist diving for a ball in the outfield. Since some of the Phillies fans at the game were cheering when he got hurt and shouting comments about how he deserved it, the incident stuck in the minds of Nats fans and Werth all season.
Jayson needed surgery on the wrist and was on the DL from May 6th to August 2nd. Werth was able to return to the Nats from his injury during a series with the Phillies. Shortly after his return to the Nats, Werth started batting lead off, in a one-two combination with Bryce Harper batting behind him. It turned out to be an inspired move by Davey Johnson, as the two of them could create havoc on the basepaths when both of them got on. Werth is one of the best baserunners on the team, well known for his intelligent, heads up baserunning skills. Werth is not the fastest guy on the team, but in terms of baserunning he may be the smartest.
Werth hit very well after his return from his wrist injury, pushing his average up twenty-four points over the last two months of the season. Werth hit his five home runs after his return from the DL. His power may return next year, after the wrist has had several months rest and time to strengthen. He also drew a good proportion of walks, which is important for a lead off hitter. Werth drew 42 walks in 81 games. Adam LaRoche, who is known as having a very good batting eye, drew 67 walks in 154 games. Werth’s walk percentage was higher than LaRoche’s.
Jayson had such a good season for the Nats that he gained a following with the fans, some of whom started turning up at the park with giant cardboard Werth heads, and dressing up with beards and long hair in emulation of their hero. This treatment by the fans was a far cry from the 2011 season, when he was often booed when he came up to bat or after striking out.Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE
Season Highlight: October 11th, game 4 of the NLDS against St. Louis. In one of the most dramatic and exciting at bats ever for the Washington Nationals, Werth hit a game winning home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to push the Nats past St. Louis and tie the series at two games each. The Nats had their backs to the wall in a win or go home situation, and Werth delivered a shot, the call of which by Nats radio announcer Charlie Slowes is still being replayed by Nats fans when they need a fix for their baseball jones.
Chien Ming Wang